Work Happy Wrap: #ChronicConfidence, #NeuroDiversity, #Amazon is taking over the world, and more news from the end of June.

by Jennifer Sigler | July 5, 2017 | Workhappy Blog

Are you emitting #ChronicConfidence or #ChronicNegativity?

Another week in the books! Last week was less about the breaking news stories, and focused more on in-depth and pop features. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss, along with some other topics at the top of our minds.

What’s on your mind?: According to The Soul of Money author Lynne Twist, two very negative thoughts. “I didn’t get enough sleep” and “I don’t have enough time” are the two feelings people think of before even getting out of bed in the morning, according to Twist. This means we begin our days feeling as if we are already falling behind, or inadequate in some way.

“When our default mode is set to scarcity, we basically train ourselves to seek out proof that we need more of everything. We focus on what we wish was different, and in doing so, we subtly reject all that we already have.” So how do we break this cycle? By acknowledging what “enough” is for you. The goal is to replace the cycle of chronic negativity into chronic confidence.

College degree optional: In an economy where two-thirds of adults do not have a college degree, a skills-based jobs approach could be hugely beneficial. This would mean the hiring process would prioritize a worker’s skills over items like a four-year degree and work history — which might provide a new opportunity to the middle class. And this concept may have a chance at some staying power with corporate giants like Microsoft endorsing programs like Skillful — a platform focused on promoting skills-based hiring, training and education.

The autistic advantage: The consulting firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young) are recruiting traditionally “undesirable” job candidates — and are seeing positive results. Currently, 14 of their employees have Asperger’s syndrome — a high-functioning form of autism marked by excessive difficulty with social interaction. So while these employees may have trouble looking you in the eye, their aptitude for problem-solving and intense focus on details make workers with this condition the ideal candidate for data-heavy tasks. This recruiting tactic is part of the company’s budding neuro-diversity program. Job candidates move through a two-week interview process that combines virtual interaction with team-building and skills assessment. And while adjustments to the work culture must be made, EY seems to be thriving with this innovative HR program. Well done.

A matter of national security: The lack of women in top-ranking positions is a problem of national security — quite literally. Only 34 percent of senior-level positions within the industry of national security are held by women.

One of these women is Radha Iyengar. This piece is the newest installment in The Atlantic’s “On The Shoulders of Giants” mentorship series.  It’s no secret I am a big fan of this series, and again — it doesn’t disappoint. B.R.J. O’Donnell interviews Radha — a national security expert and senior economist at the RAND Corporation, on her unlikely career path and those that helped her along the way.

Executives wanted: And Uber is looking for more than one these days. The company’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, resigned two weeks ago after receiving a letter from investors. The company has already been actively looking to fill the position of Chief Operating Officer. Looks like this search will be put on hold until the driver’s seat is filled once again. Business Insider has put together a list of likely candidates for the job — and a few interesting wild cards.

Report from the Road: Uber drivers, however, are less than optimistic that a change in power will result in a positive change in their working conditions. According to this piece by Fast Company writer Ruth Reader, Uber drivers feel not only that their needs go unrecognized, but that the structure is designed to work against them. Suggestions are ignored, and concerns receive a blanket response.  Will new management revamp this oppressive work culture? Stay tuned.

Free returns, no waiting: Amazon is taking another jab at brick and mortar stores — and this time it is clothing stores that might feel a heavy punch. The Washington Post reported on Amazon’s latest consumer feature — Prime Wardrobe. With this new rollout, Amazon will be encouraging customers to try on clothing, with the ability to return for free.

Major clothing retailers, such as Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Sears have been struggling with steadily declining sales due to consumers increasing predilection for online shopping. With Amazon promising a hassle-free returns policy (something that has always plagued the online shopping structure), this could potentially deliver a devastating blow.

Monopoly making a comeback: And we aren’t talking about the board game. Stacy Mitchell writes a compelling piece in The Atlantic urging all of us to recognize the monopolistic business practices happening all around us. Mitchell breaks down the history of monopoly and antitrust in American history — outlining the efforts made to break up monopolies through the years, as well as its quiet return in American culture.

If this doesn’t seem right, consider this: “Two corporations make 69 percent of the beer Americans drink, five banks control about 47 percent of the nation’s $17 trillion banking assets, Walmart captures half or more of grocery spending in 40 metro areas, four airlines dominate the skies, and 75 percent of households hace, at most, only one provider to choose from for high-speed internet access.” Oh, and Amazon bought Whole Foods last week, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Tips from a pro:  Laszlo Bock is the former senior vice president of people operations at Google and current CEO of Humu. While at Google, he transformed how the company managed its employees, and increased Google’s workforce by 70,000 employees. Suffice it to say — he knows people. Perhaps more importantly, he cares about how people work. Last week, he delivered the keynote speech at the 2017 Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference.  Inc. outlines the six strategies Bock shared that can make work better for employees. Maybe Uber should be reading this…

2018 Most Innovative Companies: Fast Company is now accepting applications for its annual list of most innovative companies. Categories include advertising, marketing, architecture, biotech, education, energy, finance, entertainment, consumer electronics, fitness, food, retail, sports, transportation, travel, and more. Basically, every industry. For rules and eligibility, click here.

Jennifer Sigler is a Senior Writer with The UpWrite Group. Send a message to to see how she can help enhance your corporate or personal brand.

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